I have come to the conclusion that I’m just not that into the alien thing, you guys. In this episode, I was inordinately excited that there were DEMONS and GHOSTS and struggles between good and evil in a theological sense, but…nope, still aliens. Everything leads us right back to otherworldly visitors in the SHIELD milieu. Still, the “demon” thing was fun while it lasted, and we got a bit more of Agent May’s backstory – plus, confirmation that she and Agent Ward are totally a thing, albeit a thing on the super downlow.
A non-corporeal but sadly non-demon engineer, Ford, trapped in a portal between this world and an alien one and raising all kinds of violent ruckus. When we begin the episode he’s died in a tragic industrial accent; concurrently, the manager of the project, Hutchins, is experiencing violent and scary incidents whenever she is feeling threatened. Ford spends most of this episode flickering in and out and trying to choke/punch/hit people, but he really has a heart of gold, okay? More on that in agent action…
The gang is called to their new mission, investigating Hutchins. Rudely, this interrupts the tail end of May and Ward’s, um, “assignment,” but May’s like, “pfffftttt, I’m outta here and don’t breathe a word about this.” She’s a total player and I’m kind of in awe. Judging by their practiced nonchalance, I’m assuming this kind of thing is maybe happening on the regs, but time will tell.
At any rate, the SHIELD agents are called to be the “welcome wagon” for Hutchins – it looks like she has telekinetic powers and they need to isolate her before anyone else gets hurt. They suspect that she was involved in the industrial accident, plus there was a little situation with exploding gas pumps; when the agents go to get her, an angry mob is calling her a freak and a cop car suddenly tries to kill people, a la Stephen King’s Christine. Clearly, anytime she’s threatened, her burgeoning powers seem to rear their ugly head. May, being the sensitive soul she is, just shoots her with a tranquilizer.
Once Hutchins is isolated in the safe room back on the jet, May and Coulson interview her and intimate that she has powers of telekinesis – they think she received these via a part that was replaced in the particle accelerator lab, prior to the explosion. Hutchins is incredulous and tells them that no, actually, she’s being persecuted by demons because God is punishing her for the accident. Because she was the one in charge, she feels that it’s her fault four people died, and now she’s paying the price.
Meanwhile, Fitz-Simmons conjure up data from the lab where the accident happened, using the hologram-y thing that they love so much. As they work, they prank Skye by telling her that May got the name “The Calvary” by dispatching a hundred dudes by herself. On horseback, because that is clearly logical. Skye has been bristling at May’s lack of the warm-fuzzies all episode, and this just cements her idea that May is cold-hearted.
When May and Coulson rejoin the others, they explain that they need to figure out what happened in the accident and that Hutchins has to remain in the safe room until they do. Skye does her own research and figures out that Hutchins is actually a super-nice and caring person; like, she ALWAYS posts “happy birthday” wishes to her friends on Facebook, for example. Skye, in fact, seems super-invested in Hutchins and is still ticked that May shot her. When Skye brings up May with Ward, she repeats the “dispatching 100 dudes on horseback” thing and Ward sets her straight – there was no horse, it was 20 dudes, and May is not in it for the glory. He doesn’t have much to say, though, when Skye opines that May needs to get laid. AWKWARD!
Skye also finds out that Ford had filed a bunch of safety complaints in the department that Hutchins’ managed. As she works on that, Fitz-Simmons are still looking at the holograph thing-y; when Fitz goes to the supply closet, Simmons pulls up another world within the holograph. It’s quite beautiful, actually, until a man (Ford) suddenly appears and smashes it to bits before going after Simmons. Then he flickers back out, rematerializes in the engine room and cuts power, forcing May to make an emergency landing in a field.
When the agents reconvene, it’s clear that Hutchins really was telling the truth; she’s not telekinetic and there really is a “demon” persecuting her. Skye begs Coulson to let her be the one to go confirm this to Hutchins, and she and Hutchins talk about God. Skye is all, I don’t really believe in God much, but I do like that whole “God is love” thing. It’s a touching moment, at least until May shows up and gives Skye the boot, ordering her to go help Coulson.
Skye and Coulson end up talking about May and finally gets the accurate version of what happened to May – they were on a mission that went bad, May went in on her own to attempt a rescue, and came out a different person: cold and guarded, contrary to her prior persona of fun-loving, rule-breaking prankster.
Fitz-Simmons have figured out that the world Simmons saw earlier was some kind of alien portal between universes, probably something that the lab was trying to replicate. Ergo, when Ford died, he was trapped in between them, or something. This explains why he materializes and dematerializes so rapidly—in fact, the next chunk of the episode is like an extra-static-y game of cat and mouse, as Ford leaps around the jet attacking various agents.
May snags Hutchins out of the safe room and takes her to a barn. “I just need you as bait” she tells Hutchins – because May’s super tactful like that. Ford takes the bait and materializes, spurring a fight that isn’t quite fair, considering he can vanish and reappear at will. Back on the jet, the agents are able to track where May and Hutchins went; as they go to find them, Skye intuits that Ford must actually have liked Hutchins and it-kind-of-didn’t-make-a-whole-lot-of-sense-but-moving on…
Ford materializes again and Hutchins finally recognizes him. He tells her that he was the one that caused the accident – he had loosened bolts in order to keep her coming by the lab, thus accidentally causing the deadly explosion. I mean, really, Ford, ever heard of flowers? Or, hey, asking for a coffee date? Gawd, some people. Anyway, turns out he’s been trying to protect her this whole time, explaining all the scary stuff that’s been happening around her. Hutchins quickly tells him that May is a friend so he’ll stop trying to whip her arse all over the barn. Ford also says that he’s trapped between this world and “hell” – although, because this is Marvel, there isn’t really hell, right? It must be alien hell, whatever that is.
May coaxes him into letting Hutchins go and leaving this world – “let the girl go,” she keeps saying. He reaches out, clasps Hutchins’ hand, and then slowly flickers out, for good this time.
Back on the jet, Hutchins sleeps it off and Coulson bemoans his busted James Bond-ish watch, a casualty to the violence – “a lost cause,” he calls it. Skye says that May, however, is not a lost cause, and that Coulson can bring her back if anyone can. Coulson praises Skye’s people skills and says that she’ll make a great agent someday, and a more understanding Skye goes to keep May company as the jet takes off.
Later, a peeved Fitz interrupts the agents playing Scrabble; seems he’s been pranked himself, his face adorned with shaving cream. The laughing agents all say they didn’t do it – cut to May in the pilot’s seat listening in and smiling knowingly. Seems Miss Calvary has a soft spot after all.
Readers – Did you also hope Ford would be a “real” demon? Do you want to see more May and Ward? When you take out a hundred dudes, do you prefer to ride in via horseback?
all photos: via ABC/Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Amity writes and teaches in Central PA. Her obsessions include: Rodarte (she can’t afford any Rodarte, mind you, but a girl can dream), espresso, books, vintage/thrift fashion and fountain pens. She thinks you should dress like a weirdo once in a while, just to shake things up.